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AMD Vision A8-3850 APU & Asus F1A75-M Pro Motherboard Review

There are two key parts of a Lynx system, the APU and the Fusion Controller Hub (FCH).  The FCH is essentially a southbridge which handles all the I/O connectivity of the system.  There are two models available, the A75 and A55 which have different connectivity options.  The A75 is the one we will be testing today which supports SATA 3.0 (6 GB/s) and up to four USB3.0 ports.

Today’s release includes four different APU models, two A6 and two A8 models which are all quad core.  AMD will be releasing the A4 series and E2 series dual core APUs at some point in the future.  In the A6 and A8 ranges there are both a 65W model and a 100W model.  The 65W model has a new feature called Turbo Core which lets the CPU cores and Radeon Cores to dynamically enter turbo mode to help maximise performance while staying within the thermal limits. We have the top-end A8-3850 APU for testing today which features the Radeon HD 6550D GPU alongside the four CPU cores.  The Radeon HD 6550D features 400 cores and has a clock speed of 600 MHz.

Even though the A8-3850 is a new chip, there is nothing revolutionary about it’s architecture.  The CPU cores have very similar architecture to the current Phenom II X4 chips, with a few alterations here and there. This includes shrinking the manufacturing process to 32nm and ditching the L3 cache to make room for all four cores on the chip. They have doubled the amount of L2 cache to 1 MB per core, though, to help make up for this.

All four of the APUs support dual high definition displays without having to add a discrete graphics card.  They also feature AMDs third generation universal video decoder (UVD3) which provides hardware decoding support for various formats including H.264, MPEG2, DivX and Adobe Flash.

The APU itself looks very similar to the current range of Athlon II and Phenom II CPUs, although the pin layout is different and it uses a different socket (FM1).  The AMD Vision A8-3850 APU has a CPU clock speed of 2.9 GHz which is achieved using an APU frequency of 100 MHz and a multiplier of 29x.

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